A few weeks ago, I attended a self-defense workshop organized by She Matters and JUNO Self Defense Training. It was an amazing experience. It was organized as part of She Matters’ Lotus Flower Programme with the intention to empower the women. This got me remembering something I discussed in a feminist camp I attended last year- that we need to encourage self-defense training, we need to promote martial arts lessons as a tool to women empowerment.
The reason? Simple. All across the world, women continue to experience sexual abuse, harassment, rape and other forms of violence. The perpetrators often manage to take advantage of their physical strength. Women are encouraged to learn and excel at cooking, raising children, they are expected to look “beautiful” every time, but we are never encouraged to stand up for ourselves or enhance their physical strength. And it is for this reason, I feel that we must prioritize acquiring this skill.
When I was invited to participate in the workshop, I was a little hesitant. Because I have never been a sports enthusiast. I did take Judo classes when I was 19 but dropped out due to a number of reasons. In addition, just the day before the workshop, I went on a solo trip to Gent, Belgium and my feet were still hurting from all the walking I did. But I had an inner calling to go and give it a try. And I am so glad that I did!
Our coach, Synthia Stoffer, a renowned Krav-Maga expert was amazing. She taught us several important tricks in 2 hours, and we discussed different potentially dangerous situations. It was interactive, and the environment was supportive which helped me get over my earlier anxiety if I could manage to participate in the workshop. This really made me feel empowered and in charge of my life’s journey. When we face dangerous situations, physical and mental strength is equally important and often can help us get out of the situation safely. This is why I want to personally pursue Martial Arts, and would encourage other women also to do so. If you do not have access to lessons, try watching videos online. You never know when it comes handy! We need to become our own sheroes, we might (or might not) find help and we need to fight with all our might!
About Juno Self Defense Training:
A pioneer in Self Defense Training, JUNO teaches women to become stronger, more self-aware and safe, so they walk the streets without fear.
It all started when JUNO creator Synthia Stoffer achieved her second-degree black belt in Krav Maga – an Israeli Self Defense system. Synthia is one of the highest ranked female instructors in the world and has many years of experience teaching both men and women.
About She Matters:
She Matters empowers refugee and migrant women to build their social and economic capital, boost their self-confidence as well as become leaders in their homes, businesses, and communities.
She Matters envisions a world where all refugee and migrant women:
- are empowered to fully participate in economic life across all sectors;
- have equal access to education and political participation;
- are free from violence;
- have the support and services they need to thrive in daily life;
- inform and drive their own solutions and development.